50 shows, 5 days: Fashion says "bonjour" to Paris menswear

Models wear creations for Julien David's men Fall-Winter 2018/2019 fashion collection during a presentation in Paris, Wednesday, Jan.17, 2018. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

The traveling fashion press bid "ciao" to Milan and said "bonjour" to Paris on Wednesday - kicking off 50 fashion shows, endless parties, million-dollar business deals and menswear mania that will sweep the French capital for five days

PARIS — The traveling fashion press bid "ciao" to Milan and said "bonjour" to Paris on Wednesday as another week of menswear mania that will include 50 shows, endless parties and million-dollar deals got underway in the French capital.

Powerhouse Valentino unveiled its couture-infused fall-winter creations from designer Pierpaolo Piccioli on Day 1, which also featured collections by lesser-known houses such as Julien David and Facetasm.

Here are the some highlights:

VALENTINO'S ARISTOPUNK

The message from Piccioli's accomplished menswear show was simple: All rich kids should have a dose of rebellion.

The now-solo Valentino designer, whose designs have gone from strength to strength, channeled the concept of "Aristopunk."

With delicious contrast, white sneakers graced the luxuriant carpets inside the magnificent, 18th century-style Hotel Salomon de Rothschild. This was served up with bubble jackets in white and black and high zipped collars as acid yellow, neon pink and vivid blue added a dash of bold fun.

But there was much artistry at work, too, in the 48 dark, masculine and generally fitted looks. The beauty was captured best in the dandy-like swagger produced by a billowing shin-length coat style.

Panels separated the lower segments and as the models walked by, they fluttered stylishly like weighty, hanging petals.

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"STRANGER THINGS" ACTOR STEPS OUT

Twenty five-year-old Joe Keery shot to fame as Steve Harrington in the hit American science-fiction horror TV series, "Stranger Things."

And now he's hit the fashion circuit.

Decked out in a sartorial-sportswear black Valentino jacket, the actor and musician seemed to enjoy the moment, chatting animatedly to front row guests, whom also included actor Mark Ruffalo.

Keery confirmed this was indeed his fashion show debut. "This is my first one of these, so I'm just dipping my toes in," he told AP. "I've no idea. I'm just going along for the ride."

Keery, who also starred in the Jessica Chastain movie "Molly's Game," said he's still yet to see the hit film, and called being chosen for the role of a trust fund kid "a surprise."

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JULIEN DAVID'S DOG-EAT-DOG WORLD

That fashion is a dog-eat-dog world was perhaps the message from French designer Julien David, whose models for fall-winter previews all donned comic canine masks.

The looks — featuring huskies, Dalmatians, poodles and bulldogs — endowed David's 22 designs with a sense of surreal fun and dog-style relaxation. The models posed during Wednesday's 'show' sitting on chairs next to tables decorated with cards games and dominos, or slouched on a couch, as fashion insiders chuckled and snapped their cameras.

It was clever stage-managing by David, one of the rising stars in Paris menswear, to highlight his signature casual style. His clothes — baggy denims with turn-ups that revealed pulled-up wooly socks and white-laced sneakers — were just that.

Dungarees in deep indigo were worn over a utilitarian golden brown toggle sweater, and lined boots had big eyelets — riffs in Paris on the workmen styles that have been ubiquitous on the Milan runway shows.

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CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE EVOKES A MASCULINE AIR

Wearable, fashion-forward and minimalist. That's the successful mantra employed by former-Hermes designer Christophe Lemaire and it was used with aplomb for his stylish fall-winter show brimming with clean lines and loose silhouettes.

There were nods to the utilitarian trend with boots, buttons, big flat pockets and boxy workers' jackets. And a strong masculine air was evoked, in this 40-piece collection, thanks to its autumnal color palette of smoke, slate gray, black, drab and golden brown.

Lemaire's clever use of round shoulders and soft fabrics evoked comfort and ensured that the hardy elements of his designs were never overpowering. Sometimes they almost fused into the gentle mottled-paint decor.

A flash of white — in baggy pants — may well have reflected the fall sky's occasional fluffy cloud.

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FACETASM DELIVERS CONTRASTS

Facetasm took the on-trend worker style as its starting point for a fall-winter collection that was ultimately hard to pin down.

Japanese-style thick denim fabric was given a great scrunched-up effect in a round-shouldered bomber with oversize proportions and baggy jeans. It was twinned with a black hoodie, which had a raw street-wear vibe that resonated with the show's warehouse venue and its wrought-iron columns.

The Tokyo-founded company has won plaudits for its conceptual styles with hints of punk — but Wednesday's show sometimes lacked focus.

Oversized garments, one of the show's major themes, were delivered with a dark palette that was cut with occasional bold colors — acid green, neon blue, lemon yellow or bright red. Several designs — like a big pale blue winter coat — riffed on the '80s.

The name of the house was based on its founder Hiromichi Ochiai's idea of the varying angular sides of a diamond — angles that seem contrasting that yet produce an inner harmony. Their show Wednesday was highly creative but could have done with less of the contrasts and more of the harmony.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

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